Mount Denali Just Shrunk 10 Feet

Courtesy of Discover America

Mount Denali (Discover America)

Mount Denali Just Shrunk 10 Feet

Alaska’s Denali National Park, and the former Mt. McKinley, has been under intense scrutiny as of late and a new study is showing that the nation’s highest peak doesn’t have a pair of feet, or ten to be exact, to stand on.

The numbers are in, and neither is it the result of tectonic plates shifting nor sabotage, but rather advances in technology have allowed us to better measure the elevation at the surface of the Earth, resulting in a more accurate summit height of Alaska’s natural treasure from 20,320 to 20,310.  Denali National Park was established in 1917 and annually sees more than 500,000 visitors to the 6 million acres that now make up the park and preserve.  Roughly 1,200 mountaineers attempt to summit Denali each year though typically about half are successful.

“No place draws more public attention to its exact elevation than the highest peak of a continent.  Knowing the height of Denali is precisely 20,310 feet has important value to earth scientists, geographers, airplane pilots, mountaineers and the general public. It is inspiring to think we can measure this magnificent peak with such accuracy,” said Suzette Kimball, USGS acting director. “This is a feeling everyone can share, whether you happen to be an armchair explorer or an experienced mountain climber.”

Courtesy of Alpine Institute

Mount Denali (Alpine Institute)

To establish a more accurate summit height, the USGS partnered with NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS), Dewberry,  CompassData, (a subcontractor to Dewberry) and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, to conduct a precise GPS measurement of a specific point at the mountain’s peak.  According to the USGS “Depth of the snowpack and establishing the appropriate surface that coincides with mean sea level had to be taken into account before the new apex elevation could be determined.”

A previous 2013 survey giving an elevation measurement of 20,237 feet was called into question as it was done by an airborne radar measurement collected using an Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (ifsar) sensor, which is an extremely effective tool for collecting map data in challenging areas such as Alaska. The problem is that it does not provide precise spot or point elevations, especially in very steep terrain.

The climbing team of GPS experts and mountaineers reached the Denali summit in mid-June and have been processing, analyzing, and evaluating the raw data since then which is how they arrived at the final number of 20, 310 feet.

Read more in a featured article on the USGS website and let us know how you feel about the sudden changes.

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W D King

kingslayer

Walter king is a sushi enthusiast. A cat lover. A star gazer. An ex-skateboarder, with the destroyed knees to prove it. A local boy raised in Hawaii. He spent much of his youth listening to art bell, infecting his brain with all matter of gray area thought provoking ideas like time travel, collective consciousness, and who can forget: Bigfoot. He's a loving husband and first time father. A movie junkie. A cliff diving, mud slinging, midday dreamer. He also kind of dabbles in indie film production, music production, and photography. He is survived by his unflinching whit and dry sense of humor.

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1 Response

  1. September 9, 2015

    […] Dark Matter News Alaska’s Denali National Park, and the former Mt. McKinley, has been under intense scrutiny as of late and a new study is showing that the nation’s highest peak doesn’t have a pair of feet, or ten to be exact, to stand on. The numbers are in, and neither is it the result of tectonic plates shifting nor sabotage… The post Mount Denali Just Shrunk 10 Feet appeared first on Dark Matter News.http://darkmatternews.com/mount-denali-just-shrunk-10-feet/ […]

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